SEC Reaffirms That Elon Musk's Tweets Must Be Legally Reviewed, Reaches Settlement

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On Friday the Securities and Exchange Commission filed in court that it has reached a settlement with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a legal dispute regarding his tweeting habits. Last fall Musk fell afoul of the SEC with his “funding secured” tweets which led the commission to mandate that Musk’s tweets be reviewed by a lawyer before sending them out.

After a second incident in which Musk tweeted about Tesla’s 2019 vehicle output without review, the SEC called for him to be held in contempt. A judge ordered that Musk and SEC representatives meet like adults to discuss the matter. This has now been settled with a ruling that Musk expand the scope of topics his tweet minder must now review.

“This is a clear win for Elon Musk,” Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in New York told Automotive News. “This removes an overhang on the stock because many feared this would not end well for Tesla. The bark ended up being worse than the bite. There’s no structural changes.”

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The filing does not impose any new controls on Musk’s communications, nor does it administer any more fines, which was a possibility. The only real move from the SEC was a clearly delineated lineup of what topics Musk tweets must be passed through tweet review before publishing. The topics which will be shown to a Twitter Sitter are as follows:

  • the Company’s financial condition, statements, or results, including earnings or guidance;
  • potential or proposed mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, tender offers,or joint ventures;
  • production numbers or sales or delivery numbers (whether actual, forecasted, or projected) that have not been previously published via pre-approved written communications issued by the Company ( “Official Company Guidance”) or deviate from previously published Official Company Guidance;
  • new or proposed business lines that are unrelated to then-existing business lines (presently includes vehicles, transportation, and sustainable energy products);
  • projection, forecast, or estimate numbers regarding the Company’s business that have not been previously published in Official Company Guidance or deviate from previously published Official Company Guidance;
  • events regarding the Company’s securities (including Musk’s acquisition or disposition of the Company’s securities), credit facilities, or financing or lending arrangements;
  • nonpublic legal or regulatory findings or decisions;
  • any event requiring the filing of a Form 8-K by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including: – a change in control; or – a change in the Company’s directors; any principal executive officer, president, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer, principal operating officer, or any person performing similar functions, or any named executive officer; or
  • such other topics as the Company or the majority of the independent members of its Board of Directors may request, if it or they believe pre-approval of communications regarding such additional topics would protect the interests of the Company’s shareholders;

Don’t worry, the champion meme king Musk won’t have his totally epic bacon tweets hindered, because it’s, “Hello, First Amendment.” 

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Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.